Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nancy's Butter Marinara Sauce

Woo-Hoo out there!  Have you been diligently attacking your summer reading list?  I just finished a very delightful book, Backstage with Julia, I would like to share with you.  The book was written by Nancy Verde Barr, who worked with Julia Child for her TV shows, cookbooks, and articles.  Julia maxim was that "cooking together is such fun" and Nancy was with Julia for 18 years sharing in the fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed this look into the life of Julia who loved food and had a such an enormous zest for life.  Julia gained fame with her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and was one of America's favorite cooks.  In intimate details, Nancy tells us about her work with Julia, who she adored.  Nancy relates  Julia's support of her staff; she helped them make contacts in the food world and encouraged Nancy to write articles for food magazines and to write her own book.  As related by Nancy, a meal with Julia in one of her homes would have the guests helping to prepare the simple meal -- because "cooking together is such fun."

(Source:  Photobucket)

Julia was not enamoured with Italian cooking.  She pronounced the word pasta as (in past).  She did say that she liked Nancy's version of Marinara sauce.  Nancy's traditional quick Neapolitan tomato sauce began with olive oil, but when making it for Julia Child, she used butter -- what a surprise :).

 Nancy's Butter Marinara Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion minced -- I used a  Vidalia onion
One 28-ounce can Italian peeled plum tomatoes, lightly drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
1 pound pasta, freshly cooked
1 pound cooked Italian sausage -- I added sausage for my meat loving family.
Parmesan cheese

1.  Melt the butter and oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium low heat; being careful not to let the butter color.  Stir in the onion, season with salt; and cook gently until it has cooked, being very careful not to let the onion brown or it will become bitter. 

2.  Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and break them into small pieces with your hands; then add them to the pan when the onions are softened.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the basil and a bit more salt.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add Italian sausage.  Sever over 1 pound of cooked pasta.

My daughters who are not fans of purchased pasta sauce, liked this.  Nancy says this serves two; with the addition of sausage and more pasta, this recipe served our family of five.

Julia had boundless energy and bristled when the "T" word (tired) was used.  Even though many times, their work would end as late as nine, Julia always would insist on a proper meal, which would mean preparing some kind of meat, chicken, or fish and vegetables. 

I loved reading about Nancy Verde Barr's adventures with Julia, recipes you won't find, only two, but plenty of interesting stories.  Published in 2007, you can find this book at your local library; I have also included a link to Amazon.

Enjoy your summer reading!

Linked with the following parties:  Wow Us Wednesdays


Pondside said...

I love a new reading recommendation - thank you! Of course I couldn't resist this post as soon as I saw the title - butter is my downfall!

Lynn said...

The pasta looks great and the book sounds like a lot of fun Joni:@)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Thank you for your critique of this new book. I read "My Life In Paris" and loved it. Also tried to read "Julie/Julia" but threw it away... Julie what's her name is such a potty mouth I could not get through it. But now I'm going to order "Backstage With Julia" to be my next read. I am so taken with the person and the talent of Julia Child. She is someone I sorta look up to!

Wonderful idea to add butter to marinara sauce and pasta (said like Julia). It is certainly guilding the lily!
Have a grat weekend!

Angie's Recipes said...

The pasta looks mouthwatering!

Julie Harward said...

Oh yum...this looks so good. A great review and I think adding butter to anything makes it even better! :D

La said...

Hi Joni!

This pasta sounds and looks delicious. I hope you are having a fun weekend!

Barbara F. said...

Huh? One of the cooking world's greatest eaters and she didn't like Italian food? Huh?!
:-) As a traditional Italian cook, give me my EVOO with my marinara!!

Cathy said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Joni. This looks like the perfect summer read and a delicious pasta recipe.

Kathleen said...

I will take Italian food over the French empty plate syndrome any day! we have given up on French restaurants. dh always has to come home and have a sandwich, and he is thin! Give me a good plate of Italian , and I am happy!
Dh makes the sauce, so no jars here.
I will look for the book, maybe I can get iwt for my iPad!
Have a good week,J,

Sue said...

Thanks for the book recommendation and the pasta recdipe! Butter inmproves everything:) I read "My Life in Paris" and enjoyed it.
I just ordered a book titled "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and am looking forward to starting it. It's for our book club and it sounds like a good read. Take care, Joni!

Debbie said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I generally love the type of "behind the scenes" books that share the untold stories.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I know I would love both the book and the marinara sauce. I'm always looking for a delicious but easy to prepare past-a sauce :)

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Thanks for further background about Julie/Julia. I saw the movie and adored it! Especially Meryl Streep! I forgot she was acting Julia Childs! The screenwriters were VERY kind to Julie... probably because she is so abrasive that the movie would not have been that good! Awhile back I found Julie's sight and it was... not my taste. No wonder Julia Childs would not meet her!

Julia Childs is a wonderful study! Tall, not very attractive (I think she is just beautiful), big, funny voice, traveled, and not married straight out of college or high school... she broke out of the sterotypes of her day and forged her own path. I admire that greatly. She is a true treasure!

I am so thrilled you alerted us to this new book.
xo Yvonne

Pam said...

Your marinara sounds really good and I am putting it on my to do list. Butter makes everything better. Thanks for the book review! You make it sound interesting! Love Julia!!!

Val said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

Oh Joni,
Another Winner! I am making this tomorrow! Thank you so much, once again! My kitchen is FULL of you and your sisters recipe. I think you should write a cookbook...
Have a wonderful week,

Lovely Light said...

I found you through Savvy's linky. The recipe sounds really easy! And I have fresh basil growing on my back porch! I might just have to try it.
I hope you'll check out my blog at

Have a great rest of the week!